YES!! The US Supreme Court has ruled that they have DISMISSED the Proposition 8 case Hollingsworth v. Perry on standing … which means the Court has decided it cannot issue a ruling in the case because the plaintiffs (the people who want to ban same-sex marriage in California) have no legal right to argue their case before the Court. This means that the lower Federal ruling that made Prop 8 unconstitutional will stand … which means SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WILL RETURN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA!
From the opinion: We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here. The Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiciton to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction … Here’s a Plain English take on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage: After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.
HERE is the link to the full decision of the Prop 8 case.
FOLKS THIS IS A WIN! Because the Court dismissed the Prop 8 case on standing, the lower court ruling that the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California is unconstitutional will stand … meaning same-sex marriage will return to California. I know that many people were hoping that the Court would rule more widely, making same-sex marriage legal in the entire US but the Court doesn’t always work that way. The Court almost always looks at cases as narrowly as possible, preferring not to overstep and rule more widely. But the GREAT NEWS is that the Supreme Court gave us TWO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE VICTORIES! The things we hoped for the most regarding these two Supreme Court cases have come TRUE! OMG! This is a great day for the United States of America!
This post will be updated with new information as it becomes available, stay tuned.
UPDATE: Here is a concise explanation from the New York Times of the two Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage that have been announced today:
The Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings Wednesday expanding gay rights, ruling unconstitutional a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and paving the way for California to legalize same-sex marriage. In the California case, the court ruled that opponents of same-sex marriage did not have standing to appeal a a lower-court ruling that overturned California’s ban. (Read the decision.) The Supreme Court’s ruling appears to remove legal obstacles to same-sex couples marrying in the state, but the court did not issue a broad ruling likely to affect other states. The rulings continue a rapid shift, in which public opinion and laws have become far more accepting of same-sex marriage, only a few years after a clear majority of Americans opposed it and it was legal almost nowhere. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in 12 states, not including California, and polls show that a majority of people support it. The decision on federal benefits was 5 to 4, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy writing the majority opinion, which the four liberal-leaning justices joined. (Read the decision.) “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was in the minority, as were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. The ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed with bipartisan support and which President Bill Clinton signed. The decision will immediately extend some federal benefits to same-sex couples, but it will also raise a series of major decisions for the Obama administration about how aggressively to overhaul references to marriage throughout the many volumes that lay out the laws of the United States.
The five-member majority in the California case was different than in the Defense of Marriage case, in a sign that the California case was less straightforward. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan. The decision on the Defense of Marriage Act does not alter any state laws governing whether same-sex couples can marry. It instead determines whether same-sex couples that are legally married in one state receive federal benefits that apply to heterosexual married couples. “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us,” Justice Scalia wrote in his dissent. “The truth is more complicated.” Justice Scalia argued in concluding his dissent that the question was one better decided by the people, through the legislative branch, than by the courts. He read from his dissent on the bench, a step justices take in a small share of cases, typically to show that they have especially strong views. Justice Kennedy, in his opinion, wrote that the law was “unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
It’s very important to stress the importance of these two HUGE WINS for marriage equality in this country. Altho the Court did not make same-sex marriage legal in the entire country, it must be understood that that option was never really what was argued in front of the Court in either of these two cases. The Court ruled favorably for same-sex marriage on a federal level and on a state level. For the first time ever, the Supreme Court has issued rulings regarding same-sex marriage and those rulings will be used in future cases that will, once again, push for the expansion of same-sex marriage rights in this country. Now that California joins the other US states and the District of Columbia with legal same-sex marriage about 1/3 of the US population lives in an area that enjoys marriage equality! It’s plainly clear that the US is moving FORWARD toward the eventual day when same-sex marriage will be legal in the entire country. The swell of equality is gaining momentum, especially with this pair of Supreme Court rulings. Today is a historic day … one that will be fondly remembered when we eventually celebrate marriage equality for the entire country. We will see that day … I KNOW we will see that day soon.